We now know that the Assembly will definitely not pass pension reforms before Governor Christie’s Budget Message on March 16. The Governor had asked for a vote before then, but Speaker Oliver said last week that would not be possible, and she said it again this week.
Officially, Democrats say there is a lot to consider before they simply rubber stamp the Senate bills…even though both Republicans and and Democrats swear up and down that the bills will be identical. So, why not push ahead quickly? Well, as one Democrat put it, “we are not going to let Christie get up there on March 16 and claim victory that quickly.” However, they will pass the bills sometime in late March. You know, after the budget message.
Another theory for the delay is that Dems wanna show union supporters how much they care. And nothing says “i love you” like obstructionism. It’s kinda like When Billy Crystal’s ex-wife in “When Harry Met Sally” had decided to move out but didn’t tell Harry about it until the day the movers arrived because she “didn’t want to ruin his birthday.”
And as one Republican put it, there is not much to be gained by delaying the pension bills. Because if someone is going to kick you in the stomach ( he actually didn’t say stomach but another part of the anatomy which would hurt a lot more ) you kinda want to take the hit, and then move on. Delay just makes people angrier.
Coupla other strange things about the pension bills in the Assembly. One lawmaker told me they were expecting Dems to sign on as sponsors in big numbers, just like many republican members were willing to do. But in the end, Oliver and DeCroce had to put their names on them. Were the D’s unable to rally the troops?
I suppose it’s all part of that “more deliberative process” we can expect from the Assembly.